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Flash on the iPhone, but not in the browser

A nice "one more thing" announcement at Adobe MAX this morning: Flash Professional CS5 will enable you to build applications for iPhone and iPod touch using ActionScript 3. These applications will be delivered to iPhone and iPod touch users through the Apple App Store.

So while this is extremely exciting (as in, I just became an iPhone developer in 5 minutes this morning exciting) there are a few things to note:

1. This is only for standalone applications - meaning iPhone/iPod Touch applications that you download from Apple's App Store either on your phone or via iTunes. It does not include Flash played via the Safari mobile web browser. So no online Flash video just yet. Ryan Stewart, an Adobe Platform Evangelist tweeted the following today during the keynote: "When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari."

2. You cannot load external SWFs into the apps you compile for the iPhone. The official line on this is: "iPhone applications built with Flash Platform tools are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages and there is no runtime interpreter that could be used to run ActionScript bytecode within the application." But in reality, Adobe is just staying within the limits imposed by Apple and their "no running other bytecode in apps" rule.

3. This won't be available until Flash CS5 is released. The good news here is that a public beta of Flash CS5 will be released before the end of 2009.

You can read all about this announcement over on Adobe Labs: Flash Professional CS5 Applications for iPhone, at the official Adobe press release, and in the Adobe Dev Center where they have posted an article about Developing for the Apple iPhone using Flash. The Dev Center article goes into some good technical explanation of what is going on behind the scenes.

There is also an extensive technical FAQ available on Adobe Labs which is worth the read.

Lastly, you can see some quick video of the Mythbusters-type segment they did as the announcement below:

Flash CS4 Update Now Available

Adobe has just released the long-awaited update to Flash CS4. It can be downloaded here, and more details on the very large number of bugs fixed can be found on the Flash Product Manager Richard Galvan's blog post about the release.

I've been using the update for a few hours now, and it certainly makes Flash seem a bit snappier. In addition, my initial tests are showing that the OS X Spaces bug with Flash has been fixed. This was a major annoyance for me, and several other developers based upon the popularity of my blog post on the subject.

Thanks to Adobe for listening to customer feedback and working hard to get this update out as soon as possible.

Update: Based on comments below and other feedback I have received, it appears that the Flash CS4 update alone does not fix the Spaces issue for everyone. However, the combination of the latest Apple OS X 10.5.7 update (released 5/12/2009) and the Flash CS4 update seems to do the trick.

Flash JSFL Command: Locate Selected Symbol in Library

I've always wondered, "is there a way to select an object on the stage and then have a command tell me where that symbol is in the library?" For a Flash developer, this comes up at least once a day.

After some searching I came across a JSFL command for Flash CS3/CS4 that finds the parent symbol in the library of the item currently selected on the stage.

To install the command, download this file, unzip it and place the resulting JSFL file here:

Mac:
/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/

Windows:
\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\en\Configuration\

You can also replace CS4 with CS3 for your flavor of choice.

Once installed, select the object on the stage that you wish to locate in the library and is likely buried way, way deep inside nested folders that the Illustrator to Flash process created. In the toolbar choose "Commands" and then "Find in Library". The object will now be highlighted in your library panel. Digging for the symbol no longer required.

I'd like to point out that I am not claiming to have written this script, but I found it on some site far, far off on the Internet and which I can no longer locate to provide credit where credit is due. I do remember, however, it was provided "free and open source", so all should be well.

ActionScript 3 Reference for the iPhone

Mike Chambers from Adobe just released a new iPhone app for viewing the ActionScript 3 documentation.

actionscript-reference-iphone

The app includes class references for Adobe AIR 1.5, Adobe Flex 3.2 and Flash Player 10. I've been testing it this weekend and it has run great.

There is more information on Mike's website for the app, including a download link for the iTunes App Store. If you want to install the app directly on your phone, you'll need to search for "Mike Chambers" to find the app while it works its way into the App Store search.

Lee Brimelow Speaking at January FlashPDX Meeting

Lee Brimelow, Platform Evangelist at Adobe, will be speaking at the Portland Flash user group (FlashPDX) at the January meeting on Thursday, Jan 15 at 6:30pm.

Here is the description from the FlashPDX blog:

Join Lee Brimelow as he describes the recent changes and additions to the Flash Platform. New tools like Flash Catalyst along with major updates to Flash authoring, Flash Player, and Flex means a lot of new things to stay on top of. This informal session will allow you to get answers to your questions directly from Adobe.

I have seen Lee speak several times at various conferences, and it is always both informative and entertaining. If we're lucky he may even include some MMA action between his slides...

Flash and Flex Conference Price Comparison, 2009 Edition

As the New Year is upon us and we start to budget for conferences in 2009, it is time for the annual Flash conference price comparison post. This year the comparison is a little more in depth because it has more significance with the world's (and especially US) economy hitting some hard times. As a refresher, you can see my posts on this subject from 2007 and 2008.

I was prompted to start looking at conference prices for 2009 when I heard that Flash On The Beach Miami's Super Early Bird pricing has been extended through Christmas. John Davey, the conference organizer, sent me a short email stating, "I think everyone is worried about the economy, and although it is worrying me too, I think a show of 'giving back' will be appreciated." I agree, John. And, thanks!

So, without further delay, here is a breakdown of pricing comparing some of the 'major' Flash/Flex conferences:

FOTB
(Miami)
FlashForward FITC
(Toronto)
360|Flex
Super Early Bird First 100 tickets
Regular $299 n/a $458 USD $360
Student $149 $230
Flex Pass $449 $542
Early Bird Next 200 tickets
Regular $429 $899 $542 $480
Student $319 $271
Flex Pass $559 $625
Standard Last 100 tickets
Regular $499 $999 $625 $550
Student $249 $313
Flex Pass $629 $709
Door Price
Regular $599 $1099 $709
Student $299 $355
Flex Pass $719 $793

When looking at the table, you'll no doubt notice a few things right off. First, FlashForward continues to be the most expensive conference of the bunch at about a whopping 50% more expensive than FOTB or 306|Flex for the standard ticket price. I should mention that FlashForward has not posted their prices for 2009 and the table includes their 2008 pricing. Since the conference just changed hands last year (it was purchased by Beau Ambur of Metaliq) and they dropped the prices at that time, it is most likely safe to assume that they will keep the prices as-is this year.

Another item to consider is that with a new edition to be held in Miami, Flash on the Beach no longer requires international travel. My prior comparisons all had to take into account a flight to London and the very lopsided exchange rate for US Dollar to British Pound. With that no longer being necessary, FOTB is now even a better bargin for those of us in the States. Especially when you realize that all of the headlining speakers from the Brighton edition have also committed to speaking in Miami.

360|Flex has always had some of the lowest prices for a conference. They started out with all tickets priced at $360, but had since risen the price to $480. For their next conference they are taking a new approach of tiered pricing. As you can see above, the first 100 tickets are at the old $360 rate, the next 200 are at the standard $480 rate, and the last are at a premium rate of $550 (which is still about half of the cost of FlashForward).

Of course there is always the extra costs that go along with conferences like flight and hotel. Those certainly add to the cost, but for the most part are the same across the board (except in the case of international travel and/or exchange rates as mentioned previously), so I don't take those into consideration here.

What are your thoughts on the price of conferences in 2009? Am I missing any conferences that you would like to see added?

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